Shringla meets junta chief Min Aung Hlaing and implies that India can mediate to end the crisis
Democracy should be “restored” in Myanmar at the earliest, said Foreign Minister Harsh Vardhan Shringla during his visit to the military rulers of Myanmar from December 22nd to 23rd. He met the Chairman of the State Administration Council, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, who had been isolated internationally because of the violent crackdown on protesting citizens, and conveyed India’s desire to involve various interest groups in order to end the crisis in the Southeast Asian country.
“The Foreign Minister stressed India’s interest in Myanmar’s earliest return to democracy; Release of prisoners and prisoners; Solving problems through dialogue and a complete cessation of all violence, “the State Department (MEA) said in a statement.
Since February 2, India has raised its concern about the ongoing military campaign against the democratic elements in Myanmar, but this statement has additional relevance as the government has indicated for the first time that India is ready to mediate between different sides over the End crisis.
Bringing up India’s previous commitments with various stakeholders to stabilize the country, Mr Shringla suggested that New Delhi could speak to all sides to end the crisis that erupted after the military followed the National League for Democracy’s election victory ( NLD) had taken power.
No meeting with Suu Kyi
During the two-day visit, Mr. Shringla met representatives of the NLD, foreign diplomats and civil society activists. Sources said the Indian side was seeking a meeting with incarcerated NLD leader Nobel Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi, but the military junta refused to allow the meeting. Mr. Shringla also met with representatives from the pro-military Union Solidarity and Development Party of Myanmar.
General Min Aung Hlaing’s family members came under US sanctions after the February coup and he was expelled from ASEAN’s annual summit of leaders as the Myanmar military continued violence against citizens demanding the restoration of democracy.
The MEA said that India, as a “democracy and close neighbor”, “has proposed, in line with the wishes of the people of Myanmar, to renew these efforts so that Myanmar becomes a stable, democratic federal union”.
India had hosted various democratic groups in Myanmar for many years after the 1988 raid forced them to seek refuge abroad.
Influx of displaced persons
Aside from the escalating drug and insurgent movements in the northeastern states, the influx of displaced people from Myanmar has exacerbated India’s problems. In the recent past, civilians and policemen from Myanmar have also sought refuge in states like Mizoram.
Mr. Shringla reminded the Myanmar rulers that India shared a 1,700 km border with Myanmar that runs along Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Nagaland and Mizoram.
He brought up the recent murder of the commanding officer of an Assam Rifles unit along with his wife and child in an ambush by militants in Churachandpur, Manipur. and pointed out that “any developments” in Myanmar would have “direct effects on the neighboring regions of India”.
“Peace and stability in Myanmar are still of paramount importance to India, especially its northeastern region,” said the MEA.
The movement of arms and ammunition within Myanmar had increased in the past 10 months after the democratic protest quickly gained support from insurgent groups in the forested northern and western regions of Myanmar on the border with India. It is noteworthy that India has therefore called for an end to “all violence”, suggesting that both the military crackdown on dissidents and the activities of the armed rebels should be controlled.
“Both sides reaffirmed their commitment to ensure that their respective territories are not used for activities hostile to the other,” said the MEA. According to unconfirmed reports, India is likely to announce a food subsidy for Myanmar very soon.